When Brandon Harris isn’t competing on the football field, he likes to watch his Parkway classmates and other friends compete on the basketball floor.
Harris attended the Bossier Invitational and is spending as much time with friends and family as he can before heading to LSU on Jan. 13.
Harris and Airline defensive lineman O.J. Smith officially closed their high school football careers Thursday when they competed in the Under Armour All-American Game on Thursday in Tampa, Fla.
“We were competing against the best of the best, and that was exciting,” Harris said. “We got a lot of gear and were going against great players.
“Right now, I love hanging out with my friends and family. I’m a fan of the game of basketball, and I love watching people compete.”
Harris (LSU signee) and Smith (Alabama commit), who are friends off the field, will be going separate ways for college, but they say they will maintain the friendship when the two Southeastern Conference West Division rivals aren’t facing each other in high-stakes football.
“It’s no problem,” Smith said. “It’s just different schools but both have the same goal – to be the best.
“It was nice getting to just hang out with Brandon (this past week).”
Harris added, “I’m very proud of O.J. and the amount of success he’s had in high school, and I think he’s going to shine over there (at Alabama). When LSU and Alabama aren’t playing, I’ll be rooting for him.”
Smith joined 12 other Alabama commits in the game, strengthening pre-existing relationships with recruits like offensive lineman Cameron Robinson (West Monroe), receiver Cam Sims (Ouachita) and safety Laurence Jones (Neville).
“Well I already knew them pretty well, and we just had fun doing things like playing Xbox and going out to eat,” Smith said. “Every time I woke up, one of them was in my room.”
Harris joined four other LSU recruits, but his 64-yard touchdown pass went to a possible future teammate.
He connected with Edna Karr athlete Speedy Noil of New Orleans, but Noil committed to Texas A&M during the game.
“It was cool showcasing the deep pass,” Harris said. “Speedy had to what’s best for him.
“I’m excited about (LSU commit) Trey Quinn (of Barbe High in Lake Charles). He’s a great athlete who can play top flight ball and set the national high school record for receiving.”
Harris hasn’t lost many competitive events in his life, and he and Smith were part of Team Highlight’s 31-21 win over Team Nitro.
Harris lost a “rock, paper, scissors” contest to be the third quarterback to enter the game, but he completed 4 of 5 passes for 115 yards.
Smith recorded an assisted tackle starting on Team Highlight’s defensive line.
“It was great getting coached from NFL coaches, and them telling me I was going to start on game day was amazing, man,” Smith said. “I enjoyed all the practices and the great weather.
“Competing with the best was great, and I want to develop quicker feet.”
LSU coach Les Miles said Harris is “kind of a future for us” when he visited the Parkway quarterback in November after Harris was believed to be the first player to use a new NCAA rule to sign with a college as a mid-year enrollee before National Signing Day.
Harris will compete against Anthony Jennings and five other quarterbacks in what appears to be a crowded backfield heading into spring practice with starter Zach Mettenberger’s departure.
After Jennings led the comeback against Arkansas, the true freshman threw for 82 yards on 7 of 19 against Iowa in an Outback Bowl win.
Smith will join a young Alabama defensive line with only senior Ed Stinson leaving. Other notable returners on the line include freshmen A’Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen, sophomore Darren Lake and junior Brandon Ivory.